From Michelle Castner
Where to begin! So many things have happened since I last wrote…..I’ll start with camp and work my way forward. We had a great week of camp! It was a little cool for a couple of days but it only rained twice. The preaching was really great and we all walked away knowing that there were things in our lives that needed to CHANGE! Making a decision at the altar is the first step but getting up and DOING something about it is being a “doer” of the word and not just a “hearer”. Since then we have seen fruit in many people lives of what the Lord was dealing with them about at camp. It makes all the hard work of getting ready for camp worth while!
The Ordination of Bro. Carlos was next. We have been dreaming of and planning this day for quite some time. Bro. Carlos and his family have been a real blessing to us and we are so very thankful for them. The arrival of the guys from Lehigh Valley was the “cream” on the cake and really made the occasion that much more special. Little did we know that at 3:30 a.m., the day of the ordination, the Lord was going to literally “shake” us all up!! Never in all of our 17 years in Chile have we experienced the force of an earthquake! It was truly a sobering experience and not one that we will soon forget. We praise the Lord for His protection over our family and our visitors at that moment. The house got a good shaking and several things fell off the walls or were broken but there was no structural damage to the house and nothing of value was lost! We were only without power for a day. We have well water so we were never without water. The internet was back up in 2 days and depending on the cell phone company we were able to start communicating with others almost immediately. We really have much to be thankful for in comparison to so many have completely lost EVERYTHING and are living outside in tents and are completely dependant upon others for food and water! It has also presented a great opportunity for witnessing and the Lord has opened many doors for my husband and Bro. Heinz to be able to take food and the gospel to those that are in great need not only physically but spiritually as well. We are very thankful for Pastor Roland, Graeme Andersen, Jon Culp and Jessie Lytle for their help and service here in Chile at this time. The Lord knew EXACTLY what he was doing when he sent these men at this time!
As for the ordination, it proceeded as planned even though we had to finish it by using flashlights! It was still a great day and a special moment for the church in Loncoche. We had a good attendance despite the difficulties that Carlos’ family had in being able to arrive due to bridges being destroyed. His parents were there and they were the most important guests. On Sunday the brethren signed the church covenant and received Bro. Carlos as their new pastor. Once again, my husband has worked his way out of a job but it is a very satisfying position to be in! We have gone through many ups and downs with the church in Loncoche and it is a blessing to see them finally get to this point! it is a little sad for us as well but we know that the Lord has other things planned for us and that He will continue to guide our paths. We believe the church in Loncoche is in good hands!
Speaking of plans, as many of you have heard we plan on coming back sometime in the spring for a year furlough. We plan on working in the Spanish ministry in Allentown during that time, visiting our supporting churches and praying about what the Lord wants in our future ministry. We plan on renting our house out and we are praying about whether we should bring Garry’s dad back with us or leave him here with his caretaker. We really NEED your prayers at this time. There are a lot of details that need to be worked out and we also will need to pack all of our house up and store our things. We are excited about the future and what it holds but at the same time having a hard time leaving and letting go of the life that we have here. Please pray for our children as well that they will be able to make this adjustment.
Lastly, in the midst of all that has happened this past month, we celebrated 4 birthdays!! Thank you to all of you that remembered Hannah, Joshua, Timothy and me. We enjoyed the cards and greetings we received. Each of us have another year to use for the Lord! ALSO….a special THANK YOU to all of you that sent goodies and cards with the guys that came down!! We are trying to ration all the peanut butter cups…..but it’s hard! The Lord knew that I was going to need your words of encouragement through your cards and letters. He knows ALL of our needs even before we do!!
I love all of you and I am so very thankful for my church family!!